Albanians disappoint again in the north east

Old Albanian head coach Andy Holloway.

Old Albanian head coach Andy Holloway. - Credit: Archant

Albanians taught Tynedale a comprehensive lesson in lineout play last Saturday.

Unfortunately for the visitors Tynedale answered with a masterclass of their own on how to play the rest of the game and OAs completed their third visit to the North East in National One without a league point to show for their efforts.

Things did not look as dark as the overcast weather at kickoff when the receipt was taken cleanly and moved without drama deep into Tynedale territory. The hosts conceded a penalty 27 metres out and virtually in front of the sticks and fly half Lawrence Rayner had no trouble with the opening score just three minutes in.

Things started to unravel for A’s three minutes later when, after they seemed to have control of the ball in a defensive position, tight head Matty Shields broke through on the right and careered over from thirty yards unmolested. Gavin Beasley easily converted, his first success of six on the day.

The damage seemed to have been controlled when Rayner notched his second penalty and his side took control of the lineout. At the same time Tynedale conceded a rash of penalties which allowed their guests to gain positional advantage.

The situation changed just on the half hour when Beasley stretched the lead with his second penalty and immediately after the restart Shields, on loan from Plymouth Albion, somehow found another gap, this time from near halfway, and nobody found the gas to overtake him on his charge to the posts. Beasley obliged again.

Hamish Smales, back after three months out with a broken jaw, then escaped on the right wing and Beasley’s conversion left the score 24-6 at the interval.

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The third quarter saw the Albanian game tighten up but most of the play remained in midfield. They were also fortunate to stop another Smales break when he broke through close to the line.

Just as OAs held sway in the lineout Tynedale dominated the tight scrums and this pressure was bound to tell eventually. Matthew Fieldhouse broke from the back and was unstoppable from close range. Beasley’s kick faded wide.

Albanians still had something left in the tank and it was fittingly at the lineout where a breach was made. An imperious take and drive allowed Maro Itoje a sniff of the line and that was all he needed for Rayner’s simple conversion. Beasley completed matters with a penalty three minutes from the end.

Esher arrive next week at Woollams looking to improve their exalted position and Albanians, though still comfortably in mid table, will take little solace from this lacklustre showing.